Thursday, April 17, 2008



Maulud celebration across the north is a big issue now. It is celebrated with pomp and pageantry and definitely with an acute sense of vengeance. I say vengeance because virtually all the celebrants belong to the Darika and Shiite sects. These sects were at one time muscled and stopped from doing things they otherwise would have done in the realm of what they considered part of Islamic worship. The mainstream sect, Izala, on the other hand remained stead fast in its opposition to Maulud celebration and several other things they considered as bidi'a. In fact the stiff opposition they showed in earlier years may have triggered the vengeance we see now among those who celebrate it. But vengeance it is and it even borders on intimidation. This is seen largely in their simplistic analogy that maulud equals deference and love for the prophet and that those who frown at maulud are enemies of the prophet.

But my main grouse with the celebration is the attendant confusion. First they are yet to agree on a common date for the event. So in theory and practice we see maulud celebration going on throughout the month. Today it is this house, tomorrow it is that section of town and the next day that half of town. In KT we saw individuals celebrating on different days, then staunch Darika families like Iron Baba's doing their own on different days, then we witnessed that for the Darika sect and Shiites doing their own also on different days and at last there was a joint celebration by all covering the whole town. This duplication of efforts serves no purpose but disrupts activities and traffic in down town section of KT. Imagine a month long disruption and the loss to the economy.

A sincere dialogue with the principal actors can go along way in streamlining these celebrations and especially curbing the excesses of the irate youths involved. It is on record that provocative statements had been chanted against the Izala sect and their position on Bidi'a. Imams of all the sects in every state should be brought together to find a way to settle the differences on the issue. It has gone beyond maulud as it is threatening the peaceful existence of the Ummah. A code of conduct must be fashioned out for the maulud and indeed other thorny areas that have proved to be flash points.

I dont know who will call for this dialogue as our political leadership lack the merit to delve into this issue. The politicians as we all know have their principal interests and things like the long term welfare of the people rank low in their calculations. So every community is on its own here. But lest we forget, this year many people were caught off guard. Come next year we might see a fire for fire strategy adopted across the north. God forbid bad thing

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



KT is witnessing its worst water shortage in decades. The taps are dry most of the time and the wells and bore holes only provide brackish water that is unfit for human consumption. But this situation is in the midst of plenty as large bodies of water in dams are within reach. Ajiwa dam provides most of the drinking water for KT but the water works there is not sufficient and has aged. The water pumped from there arrives in huge pipes to booster stations inside town. These then distribute to smaller pipes that eventually takes the water to homes. The supply is now erratic and to make up for the short fall water carriers sell their stuff in yellow jerry cans. And they do not come cheap. Zobe and Jibia dams are all within reach but are yet to be harnessed to supplement what is available from Ajiwa.
The state government has so far kept mum on this important issue and we might suffer this shortage for years on end.



Egg consumers in KT are chuckling to themselves as they buy crates at rock bottom prices. A crate now goes for a mere four hundred Naira. Yes N400 which is a little over three US dollars. With this kind of price these eggs can be sold on the international market. This is the cheapest price you can get anywhere in Nigeria. The same crate however had sold for more than seven hundred Naira during the recent avian flu epidemic. What could be the cause of this big drop?

Well when the price was high the few producers on the ground made super profits and this attracted many to join the poultry business. Among them were many housewives who had collected poverty alleviation loans to raise layers inside their houses. The big players whose birds were completely culled as a result of the avian flu, equally saw the opportunity and prepared themselves for it. Slowly the supply began to ease pressure on the price and we noticed a slide to 600 and then 500. The price stabilised at 500 but quickly nose dived when the biggest chicken farmer intervened. Paki Masha farms is often described as the Coca-Cola of poultry farmers in KT and this is no joke. His farm has more than ten thousand birds that produce tons of eggs every day. The eggs were piling up in the stores as the small producers cornered the market. This situation prompted Paki Masha to slash his price to 400. They made it public through the local TV station KTTV and it was a big relief to consumers. But not so to all the other egg producers in town.
A situation like this ought to have triggered a price war but the other big time producers like Bilya Rimi, Hamisu Gambo etc all decided to sheath their swords. They were said to have sent a delegation to Paki Masha asking for an equal slash on the price of feeds. Their pleadings fell on deaf ears.
Meanwhile the household producers are watching the situation and hoping that something will bring back their profits. As for the consumers, well, we shall continue to consume more eggs while the situation lasts. And also hope for a price war that will push the price to 300, then 200 then 100 then ....who knows?

Saturday, March 22, 2008



For three months now one popular Saudi blogger has been in jail for criticising some influential people in his country. Fouad al Farhan is 32 years old and a father of two. His long incarceration has forced his nine old daughter, Raghad al Farhan, to come out with a plea for her father's release in this clip. I am joining Saudi bloggers and others in the blogosphere to demand his immediate release. As bloggers we have a right to express our opinions in all matters under the sun. Or don't we?
Update: Pressure is still mounting in the blogosphere for the release of al Farhan. So far KSA authorities are not budging. They have even blocked the blogsite created to give info on the case. This kind of thing has set my mind thinking: it could happen in democratic Nigeria! Those who doubt me would do well to check this report by reporters sans frontiers. Journalists are the targets now but believe me bloggers will soon be the next to be targetted...

Thursday, March 20, 2008



My attention was drawn to the above book written by Zbigniew Brezinski who was the United States National Security Adviser to former president Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. That was the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the rise and rise of the resistence movement known as the Mujahedeen. Without doubt the Americans played a key role in the arming of the Mujahedeen and the ouster of the Soviets from the country. It is instructive to note,however, that among the many Saudis recruited for the Mujahedeen job was a little known millionaire who goes by the name of Usama Bin Laden. The Americans must have noted his potentials and showed him one or two tricks that turned him into a billionaire, among other things. But no sooner the war was over than the Mujahedeen and the new government they helped to set up turned into a frankenstein monster for the USA. Many Americans are not aware of this shady side of their government largely due to what is described as their willful ignorance.

I am searching for this book and would be surprized if Mr Brezinski did not reveal the cloak and dagger job the CIA did in recruitig and arming sundry Arabs for the Mujahedeen insurgency against the Soviets which direcrtly culminated into the present American invasion of and the quagmire now in Afghanistan.



Reverbrations from the last African Cup of Nations football tournament in Ghana would be with us for a long time. This is judging by the selective punishments that FIFA refrees doled out on the pitch. I am no great football fan in the true sense of the word and therefore missed what amounted to a double standard by some of these refrees. The above picture of an Egyptian player was sent to me with the explanation that he was shown a yelow card for displaying the above writings on his inner shirt. FIFA HQ was said to have defended the action by saying that it was against the habit of players displaying political and religious statements. Well by this statement FIFA has argued against itself since several players have engaged in this kind of thing and they were not sanctioned. In the same tournement a Ghanian player was said to have waved a Jewish flag in response to the Gaza statement, but he was not given a yellow card. If this is not double standard then I dont know what is. Is FIFA fast deteriorating into a neo con zealot?
Thanks B.

Monday, March 03, 2008



Local Government elections are over in KT and all but three of the previuos office holders were returned. Likewise the elections for the ruling party's officials where all of the party executives were eleted un opposed. For both so called elections though the same "democratic" rule of consensus was put into use. My dictionary defines consensus as a broad unanimity or a widespread agreement among members of a group. Now if indeed this were the case one would not bother much. But the reality was that several members of the group were not allowed to partake, least of all agree with the candidates so elected. And they made this known in variuos fora including the media.
This definitely puts democracy in great jeopardy in the state. And indeed the whole country.
But here is praying that the rule of law would one day come to be respected by our leaders.

Saturday, March 01, 2008



I have always known that as the campaign for the US presidential primaries got nastier and nastier some one would hit Obama below the belt. Right at the onset they had been saying that his last name rhymes with Osama, even if no one really paid any attention. But now that he appears unstoppable they are reaching for the last salvo. I am surprized though that the Clintons were not involved. Nor the religious far right candidate Huckabee or even people with extreme jewish views like Abe Foxman.
It was in Cincinnati, Ohio, when some one billed to introduce John McCain mentioned it. The guy pointedly repeated Obama's middle name (Hussein) in a way that sought to ridicule the name. Perhaps he wanted Americans to link it in some arcane way with the dead Iraqi leader, or perhaps make Americans to think Obama was a Muslim and so not suitable to become the next president. But McCain was quick to see where that kind of name-ridicule could lead to and he put a stop to it immediately. He cautioned the guy and aserted that Hussein was an American name just like Benjamin Franklin and Omar Bradley. Denigrating people's names, he said, was a form of racial and religious bigotry.
Perhaps this is the last we shall hear about it, but lest we forget, Obama, is not a Muslim. His father was a Kenyan Muslim and the middle name Hussein given to him belonged to his grandfather. Believe it or not in America your religion matters in presidential choices. JFK was the first Catholic and perhaps the last to occupy the White House . This makes the chances of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, to be so daunting. But for a black man to be the president of USA it is now a possibility and the country would surely turn a new leaf both domestically and on the international scene.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008



A review of this excellent book will soon be made available in a different site. pls bear with me.

You can now view my reviewed books here.



Muslim Sisters Orgnisation (MSO) has joined the battle against corruption by teaching its members a brand new prayer. MSO is a kind of sorority or salon made up of married women who meet on sundays in cities across the nation. Its not a highbrow organisation like Rotary club with its dress code and weekly takings and is not based on tribe. In fact its open to all women but the beauty of it is that messages can be passed along to several men and husbands. Which makes the organisation to have a huge potential in areas like mobilizing for a cause.
Now the prayer in question is very simple but members are asked to utter it in the mornings when their husbands are leaving the house for work. It goes like this: Please bring back to us things that are halal". Pretty simple eh? But already reactions have been reported where some husbands frowned at the practice.
If you dont get my drift then imagine how these set of Nigerians would react to such a prayer; Customs officers, local government chairmen, and politicians. We can expand the list to include all others but the bottom line is that many husbands will be sore at their wives for saying this prayer and will demand an immediate stop to it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008



I was pretty amazed to learn that KSA has banned red flowers with the hope of stopping Saudi youths from using them for valentine. The story is sure to make headlines around the world with comments of all shades attached. The Saudi Imams naturally preach against clebrating all un-Islamic festivals but the fact of the matter is virtually all muslim youths, the world over, do aknowledge and "celebrate" valentine. And its not so much because it is a christian celeb but rather because it gives them an opportunity to engage in some romantic activity. I did look forward to februarys and valentine in my youthful days but stopped on my accord many years ago. So its like a fad with most muslim youths and this points to the futility in using draconian measures to stop it. But I do partake in celebrations with my christian friends, as they do with me in mine, and dont see anything particularly wrong with that.

But lest we forget, there are indeed some christian sects that frown at festivals devoid of christian roots, like halloween, and could equally ban them if given the chance.

The most intelligent thing to do is to go back into history and find an event or person or day that could epitomize the youthful hunger for love. Something that could be seized to give the youth the same opportunity they get during valentine. I dont know what the purists will say about this but I want to believe that doing this is far better than fighting a losing battle with the ban on valentine.

I have actually searched back and recalled an event in my part of the world that could serve as a valentine equavalent. Its called Larabgana. I remember when I was a kid how, on that day, small girls used to take rubutu with onion leaves inside to their boy friends. The ones they really loved who in turn gave them small coins. It was not a big deal then and it was never institutionalized. But I know it happened in those days and it can be revived and made to replace valentine in my part of the world.

I will continue my research on this and when I am satisfied will take it to local media houses for publicity. First though I may have to consult the liberal Imams in my community.

Update: So the first wednesday of the new year is our Larabgana, i.e. in the month of Al Muharram. Now instead of taking rubutu around why not use cards and sms messages. Also why not encourage evrybody to partake in the activity on that day? Both males and females, young and old.
Sounds simple? Many of my friends liked the idea. But wait for the difficult part. I discussed the idea with a few local people: one Ustaz, one Imam and a lay person. The first two were dead against it, saying it tantamounts to an invention in the religion. While the third was all for it. The stiff opposition has scared me and I have shelved the idea for now.

Thursday, February 07, 2008



Chairmanship elections for the 34 local government councils in KT are round the corner but with daggers drawn for the primaries. Contestants from various parties are jostling to clinch their parties' nominations. In the PDP (the ruling party), the bad blood created in selecting the candidates to contest is threatening to split the party. Three caretaker chairmen were jettisoned while the rest were given the party ticket to contest. These decisions were critisized as undemocratic and reported by Daily Trust newspaper here.
Here is what appears to be at stake: an elected chairman would be at liberty to use an average of about 40 million Naira every month the way he wants. Naturally this kind of money comes in handy and ready to be pilfered for personal instead of peoples' oriented projects.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008



The international media is bombarding all of us with stories of the US elections. The coverage is so thick that you feel some fatigue every time you watch the news. It reminds me of how CNN covered O. J. Simpson's case a few years ago.
My main concern in the US elections is Barack Obama. Somehow I want him to clinch the Democratic ticket not so much because he is black, but because of what he says he will do about Nigeria's number one enemy: the anopheles mosquito. He said he will spare no effort to eradicate malaria, the killer of children and adults in Nigeria. I have already reached the conclusion that it is only with US assistance that we here can combat malaria successfully. Remember how they came in heavily on the Polio issue. It is this that endeared me to him.
Senator Hilary Clinton on the other hand chose Alzheimer or cancer disease and this does not bother me at all. Besides no matter how many times she cries I remain opposed to her candidature. Not that it matters anyway but I hated the foxy little tears she sheds whenever the going gets tough for her. I don't know much about the other hopefuls still in the race.
So Obama I say good luck to you.



A friend asked me last week about my new year resolutions. When she noticed my incredulous look she quickly yanked out a piece of paper that contained her own. I went through it quickly and it was the usual stuff I used to write down and forget. She confessed that she had broken some already.
Well to me resolutions are supposed to be alive throughout the year and to be revised every now and then. For the past two years I have kept a list of such resolutions handy and added to it when the need arose. Perhaps this should be called a "To Do List" because they are written with achieving a goal in mind. Whenever one is achieved then an annotation is made. This gives you a nice feeling whenever you go through the list again.
Here is a part of my list for this year which really contain some items that were carried forward from last year. They are in no particular order:
1. Perform Hajj.
2. Perform the Umra.
3. Say all my 5 daily prayers on time.
4. Read 50 books. Update; Finished three, 47 to go.
5. Complete the first draft of my book on KT history 1905-1950.
6. Write the draft of a book of short stories
7. Switch to vegetarian diet once a week.
8. Travel to Lagos for a feel of the ocean. Its been long since I smelled it.
9. Visit members of my family in Kano, Kaduna, Kwara and Lagos states.
10. Read the Qur'an from cover to cover every month.
11. Wake up for Tuhajjud during the last ten days of Ramadan.
12. Make the rounds to my relations in KT once every month. Done in Feb
13. Donate 5% of my total income to motherless children and other institutional charities.
14. Keep my desk free from the usual clutter. Done
15. Visit Dubai and see what all those people going there see.
16. Subscribe to the electronic version of Readers Digest. Done
17. Give more attention to car maintenance ie check engine oil and water every morning.
18. Write a review of all the books I have read on another blog site.
19. Do simple exercise every morning within the house.
20. Switch to brown sugar.
21. Buy a Mac Laptop.
22. Clear my wardrobe of all clothes not worn for more than six months.
23. Buy new clothes for myself every quarter. two sets will be fine and must be the latest fashion.
The original list is much longer than this and I would be lucky to accomplish half of what is in there.

Saturday, January 26, 2008



Back in August last year I wrote a piece on the progress of buildings at Katsina State University (KSU). Well its more than six months now and things have improved in one area while deterioration is the word in others. The picture above shows the same Senate building that I captured last but looking almost complete now. There is a new vigour now and contractors handling all the different buildings are busy on site. Note however that there is no way the students can relocate to this permanent site this year.
However, in the academic front, there is tension between the mangement and the teaching staff and, if what I hear is true, a showdown is iminent. The lecturers are loudly demanding payment of promised salary increase but the school authorities are claiming there was no money. I beg your pardon? What hapened to the billions stashed as investments so as to provide a stream of income for the school? If I remember correctly we were told then that the school would never have a cash flow problem. But if it can not pay the salaries plus the arrears then it means only one thing: the school is broke. No more no less. And this begs the question as to what hapened to the billions earmarked for the school by Yardy? Why did the governing council of the school allow the matter to reach the level it has reached now? What prevented them from intimating Yardy if Shema refused to cooperate as it is been alledged?
All the above questions are relevant and would come to the fore if and when the University is closed as a result of a strike action. That time it will be on record that KSU is the first state university in the country to be closed on account of strike by agrieved lecturers. One step forward, you might say, but two steps backward after a while. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008



So much as been written about the late Benazir Bhutto and this rare picture is my way of saying good bye to her. The loss to Pakistan is enormous but so also the only super power around - USA.

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Temperatures are dipping so fast that the thought of snow actually falling in KT is really a possibility. Room temperatures have of late plunged to 16 degrees Celsius while outside the mercury nudges around 8 degrees. I am hoping that a very cold wind will collide with another cold breeze above KT skies and presto, we see snow falling down from the sky. And thats the exact explanation for a recent snow fall in Baghdad captured in the this picture.
Of course snow had never fallen in KT but neither did it ever fell in Baghdad.



Since the disappointment I suffered along with the people of KT during Sallah, and the journey to Daura which was a fiasco, a trail of setbacks trailed me. My car broke down in the middle of no where and had to be abandoned there for a day. By the time I went with my mechanic some urchins had removed one tyre and traffic lights on the body. As if that was not enough, my cell phone was also stolen at the garage. These two mishaps nearly made me to flip over.
The loss of the cell phone was particularly devastating seeing that I bought it not more than a month before. And it was a high end gizmo with all the bells and whistles you can think of: bluetooth, wireless LAN, 3.5 mega pixel camera, digital recorder, memory card etc. I shelled out more than 50 thousand to acquire it and some nut case took it away from me. And it went along with all the contact numbers of my friends and relations! I asked everybody in the garage but no one saw anything. I went home and cussed some more but to no avail.
I calmed down towards midnight and thought the whole thing up objectively. First I wanted the phone to be blocked so that it would be rendered useless to the thief. Unfortunately my service provider MTN does not have a blocking software for stolen cell phones. In fact there are so many things they don't offer to us, their customers, including hassle free calls. Perhaps thats why some people coined Matsala Tazo Najeria. I thought of my numbers inside the phone and decided to visit the garage the following day perchance the thief threw it around the place. He did not.

The following day word went out that I lost my phone and some asked me to buy another one. And thats when I made up my mind to stay without a handset. Why buy another only to lose it again some day? Already the car was to stay in the garage for a month or so and what an opportunity to also for go the cell phone? And while I was at it, I also thought I had had enough of high tech anyway and so my laptop will have to go too, along with browsing. I would rather start living like the Amish? No car rides, no calls of whatever kind, and no browsing. It will be a thrill, I thought. So I packed my Acer and locked it in the closet.
Let me just say that it was not easy at all but thank God I have done it for a number of days and its all over. I am back and know I have missed a lot. But above all I apologise to my readers for not updating as usual. Life now continues as usual...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Eid, X-mas, Hannunkka, Soltice and New Year wishes

The last quarter of the year 2007 was packed full of all sorts of celebrations. First we had Eid el Kabir for Muslims and then came along the Christmas which normally coincides with the solstice (when the sun is farthest from the equator) and then comes the Hannukka (a Jewish festival). And all these within a space of one month. I want to believe that as humans we all celebrated these occasions. And as if that was not enough, we first had a new year according to the liturgical calendar and another one soon according to the Hijra calendar.
So here is a belated wish to all my readers for a happy Sallah, merry Christmas, light filled solstice, happy hannunkka and a prosperous 2008 and 1328.

Update: I have been corrected with regard to the Islamic year (1328) which I quoted above. Correction accepted as the year is actually 1429 and my thanks to Big Abdul.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Sallah Celebration

There are quite a few experiences that humans of all races and cultures share. Among them is celebration or merry making on particular days for particular events. These celebrations must have originated from the early days of humanity and they serve as a kind of reunion events for family members. Judging by their history it is safe to say that such celebrations predate all religions. But today most of our celebrations are based on religion. And here is a roll of those we have in my part of the world:

Babbar Sallah or Eid el Kabir
Karamar Sallah or Eid el Fitr
Cika ciki or Thanks Giving
Taku Tuha or Maulud

The first two are by far the most important and as such are packed with more activities. It is akin to a carnival complete with processions and brightly clothed horsemen parade. At home the occasion is marked after careful planing. Long before the d-day families budget the gifts to distribute, who to invite, the clothes to wear and the food to prepare. Relations coming down for the event are also ascertained.
Gift giving has become a norm but with apparels dominating the budget. Relations and family members form the bulk of the beneficiaries. Giving gifts to friends is mostly restricted to occasions like weddings or naming ceremonies. Children have clothes sewn for them as a rule and except for the fancy kid glasses or kid wrist watch, toys are out of the question. Wives too would have clothes given out to them long before the event and husbands will sew for themselves.
In the area of food every house cooks variety of dishes to fit the occasion. Most of the night would beused to do the cooking but normally with the help of those relations who have arrived forthe occasion. Rice dish features prominently in various forms ranging from plain white with stew to jollof and tuwo balls. Meat range from beef to chicken in roasted and cooked in stew varieties. Cakes, donuts, spring rolls, meat pies and other snacks would also be prepared. All these will be laid out along with the fruits in season.
No one eats in the morning until after people return from the praying ground. The food is then laid on the carpet for the family to sit down and eat. And then the banter starts with relations and friends.
Immediately after the meal those wishing to watch the parade and the horses will leave the house for strategic locations that give good a view. This is called durba and it is the main attraction for Sallah.

Saturday, December 22, 2007



This signboard speak volumes of the irony behind the BORYAM scandal which had to do with a short video clip of a Kannywood film star (Maryam Hiana) having intercourse with her male friend. Circulation of the clip caused an upheavel in the North and in the local film industry that culminated in the draconian measures adopted by the Kano state government to curb the excesses of the players. But believe it or not the above clearly shows what pundits call "one man's food is another man's poison". The signboard stands by a busy side street in KT and whenever I drive by, I wonder what those irate youths in Bauchi, who were said to be looking for Hiana, to kill, would do when they see it. In fact they once trailed a Hiana look-alike and nearly butchered her. It never occurred to them to equally look for Bobo, the man who shot and acted in the porn clip.
Many bloggers from the North commented on the scandal and most were sympathetic to the girl. You may check this and this and this and this.
You may also check this out and while you are at it, haven't you noticed some spelling mistakes on the signboard?

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Thursday, December 20, 2007



I wish all my Muslim readers a happy Eid el Kabir. Those in Nigeria and elsewhere must now be busy with the slaughtered ram for the occasion. I am battling with my own too in the various ways we usually do: we fry, pot cook, barbecue, grill, rotisserate, morsel dry and grind for meat balls. Over the years we in KT have developed several exotic ways to use such meat and preserve it for long.
However the Sallah celebration has been stifled in KT: no horses, no march past, no costumed artists, no processions and naturally there was forlorn look everywhere. It is just unbelievable that a Sallah will come and pass in KT without the usual carnival atmosphere. But its true as days before the event stories leaked that there will be no horses or parades. And the only reason advanced was the failing health of the traditional ruler or emir of Katsina.
Initially I thought it was a huge joke especially after knowing that someone can easily be made to ride the horse on behalf of the emir. Several district heads who are advanced in age appoint others to ride and the show had always continued. This stopped me from making alternative arrangements. On the eve of Sallah it downed on me that it was no rumour and I made a hasty decision to go to Daura with my friends to watch the Sallah show there.
So to Daura we went in a 3 car convoy but this is another story. Let me however hasten to add here that the decision to put-off the horse parade etc was criticized across town. And the argument posited is that the Sallah festival is too big to equate with one individual. It is a pageant that is enjoyed by locals, visitors from other parts of the country and beyond our borders. For centuries the festival was celebrated and people enjoyed the show regardless of who mounted which horse.
Here is commiserating with KT people and their visitors who had come from far and near for having a black Sallah devoid of flutes and drums.

Monday, November 26, 2007



I almost forgot to mention that the journey to Saudi Arabia for the hajj has commenced in earnest. And for the first time the newly constructed KT International Airport is among the departure points. So far four planes have airlifted KT pilgrims and they are all in Medina now.
Am not traveling this year but already I am regretting it.
Above shows one of the pictures i came back with during last year's hajj.

Friday, November 23, 2007



This meal was prepared from a recipe as long as my arm. Its from Abbeys' first blogsite. But if not for the cans behind I would have sworn its good old rice and plantain. No more no less. But its not as the dish is called Joshua Chicken Curry. Which means those things that look like plantain that you see on top are actually chicken nuggets. And there are green beans and several other things whose names are new to me. The blog is full with such pictures of mouth watering dishes and is described as "Recipes from the Kitchens of People who love Food". Yummy Tucker is the blog's other name. Abbey also maintain another blog called Random Thoughts of Life here.
This other blog is on things generally and has lots of pictures, some bizarre, and other blog stuff.
Hope to try some of the recipes as soon as I assemble the items required.



The western media, led by the CNN, is busy with the Saudi girl rape story. Condemnations are sought from everywhere so as to put pressure on the Kingdom's rulers. But here is my understanding of the story: a Shi'ite girl was about to get married and was bent on getting back her pictures etc from her previous boy friend. She went to an agreed rendezvous in a public place to meet the boy and collect her items. She entered the boy's car and both were abducted and abused sexually. She was said to have been raped 14 times. Her husband was not happy and he encouraged her to take up the case with the rapists in a local court. She did and the rapists were sentenced to between 2 and 9 years. Curiously enough though the Qatif girl was also found guilty and sentenced to six months and 200 lashes. What could have been her offense? Well it turned out she violated what is called the Khalwa ruling which states that being with unrelated man in a private place is a culpable offense. That is by entering the car the girl had unwittingly stepped into some private area with the boy. And so judges passed her the above sentence.

I believe there is nothing wrong in putting pressure on the KSA authorities to let the girl off the hook. She has suffered immensely and the trauma of what she went through is enough for her. But the western media has some agenda in covering this story the way they are doing.

Update: Saudi media reported that King Abdallah has granted pardon to the Qatif girl which brings the whole saga to a happy end.

The Indian baby born with eight limbs and a an extra torso. Indian doctors performed quite a feat when they surgically removed all the extras successfully.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007



Hospitality is associated with KT for several reasons and perhaps that is what informed the choice of the phrase on the state car plate number. The plate number screams HOME OF HOSPITALITY and this begs the question of how the people do it. What do they do to show hospitality? Or put another way, what kindness do the people show to visitors? And how friendly or welcoming are the people to visitors? A littler story would suffice here.

Karkarku is a Fulani settlement on the outskirts of Daura. I was there on a social visit with some relations and what transpired there actually made me to write this post. No sooner we arrived than the woman of the house started bringing out things for our comfort and stomachs. First she brought out a fine mat, a carpet and pillows. We all made ourselves comfortable. Then she gave us Fura or millet porridge with lots of undiluted nono or milk. Karkarku is particularly noted for these two things: milk and fura. You wont see any cows roaming about but their milk is the best in KT state. In between the usual greetings she sensed that we wont stay for long so she sent out for a full meal to be bought from a neighbouring house. Quite a meal considering the environment. After two hours or so we left the place for Daura town where we drove around aimlessly. Around the Emir's palace I remember looking out, hoping to catch a glimpse of Zahra.

On our way back to KT we made a detour after the airport and sped to Abukur, a small town along Katsina- Kano road. The intention was to drop a message only, but we were delayed with the usual entertainment. Fura was served and some snacks and the greetings went full length.

From these two examples we can conclude that entertaining visitors is a tradition in KT. They are welcomed and offered something to drink and eat. This aspect of hospitality appears to be universal and exist in all cultures. Where we difference is in terms of the offering. The Chinese offer tea to their visitors while Americans offer coffee. The Fulanis among us, especially those close to their cattle, offer milk and fura to their visitors.

But what do they entertain visitors within KT proper? Something to drink is usually the first thing to be offered and could be followed by a solid meal. Fura and milk are no more in vogue even though there are houses in the town where they could be offered. Like in the downtown areas. Kola nuts too were popular at one time, but no more. In most middle class houses what you get is juice, soft drinks and snacks. This is really a lazy man's way out but provides a quick fix to the problem of unexpected guests. After the usual Marhaba the visitor is shown a seat and is followed by greetings and, defending on the situation, some banter. The entertainment then starts.

I usually keep some juice and can soft drinks handy in my house. The traditional fura and milk has been abandoned for obvious reasons. Would this be changed one day and we see people serving tea and coffee in KT? Only time will tell but the advantages of both could be a factor for any changeover.

Thursday, November 08, 2007



I checked the map of a site meter I installed on this blog and was pleasantly surprized to discover that readers of this blog are spread around all the continents except one - South America. The site counter also indicated that more than 1000 readers have so far visited my blog. I was elated by this development.
Now as a mark of respect for my readers I have been thinking of ways in which I can improve the blog. In this regard I am now asking you, my readers, to please drop in suggestions or ideas that could take the blog to new heights. For example if there are specific topics you would like to read more about in Hajia, I would be happy to write on them. Personally I view this blog as an interactive dialogue between you and me and in which we both can learn from each other. So if there is any topic or area that you would like to know more about regarding life, views and perspectives from KT or Nigeria, please feel free to let me know. You can either leave a comment here on the blog or send it to my e-mail box at
I want to thank you for visiting my blog and I truly hope you find the postings fair, educative, informative and at times entertaining.

Good news from Kaduna state as law makers there will soon pass a bill that will make it mandatory for all children to enroll in school. Such a bill is long overdue in virtually all the states in the far north. I am talking about Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno states. These states have record levels of young boys roaming the streets and claiming to be engaged in Quaranic education. In fact these boys, hungry and dirty as they are, are found virtually everywhere in the federation and they are often a menace. Its really good news that a law will now force them to either enroll in school or else pack their bags and go back to where they came from. Incidentally most of them come from a neighbouring country - Niger.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007



US investigators have finally closed in on the arsonist who started the California fires. And he is a mere 10 year old boy! The fire destroyed property worth a billion US Dollars and destroyed several homes and 38 acres of prime land in the buckweed district of Los Angles. However prosecutors are at a loss whether to file charges because the boy was under age. He was said to be playing with some matches when the fire started accidentally.
Above picture shows fire fighting helicopter dropping water on the thick smoke and raging fire below.

It appears that PHCN (aka NEPA) is really confused about the correct voltage to supply to Nigerians at home and offices. Sometimes what you get is close to 220 but in most cases it is far below that. In fact these days the voltage is so low you cant even re-charge your handset battery. It is that bad! My stabilizer has once indicated the incoming voltage to be less than 100 volts. What do you do with this voltage that cant power anything?
I don't know whether PHCN is trying to change the country's official voltage from 220v to 110v or the vagaries of old transformers is the problem. Could it be the high demand or the corrupt nature of Nigerians at play.
All of the above have some role to play in our plight but it is worth mentioning that investment in the power sector stagnated for more than twenty years. As a result of that now we need close to ten years of massive investment by way of new thermal plants and hydro electric turbines before power and energy would be available 24/7.
So up to your necks in forbearance Nigerians.
Above shows a house in western California with electricity generating solar panels on the roof. It has been my dream project to sever PHCN power lines to my house and instead generate my own electricity using similar solar panels. Perhaps one day I will realise my dream.



The harmattan season is already with us in KT. You just feel and see the transition. My thermometer has recorded temperatures as low as 18 degrees Celsius around Subhi prayer time but it usually rises quickly to above 22 by say ten o'clock in the morning. Blankets and sweaters are back in demand and hawkers of these items are already on the prowl. Dusty strong winds have started blowing thereby complicating the woes of those with asthma. Most people now suffer acute catarrh and cough (or cold and flu) including yours truly. There is a surge in clinics and hospitals for these ailments and the usual drugs prescribed are antibiotics and vitamin C. I am still taking mine. And you need handkerchiefs, tissue paper or Kleenex box beside you. Its battle time with running noses, watery eyes, sore throats, light coughing, insomnia etc.
Perhaps as a result of global warming the temperature rises quickly to 38 by 2.00pm. This scorching heat continues to till around five o'clock when it starts to go down again.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is a home made helicopter built by a University student in Kano. Mubarak Abdullahi, 24, said it took him 8 months to build from old car parts and the carcass of a B747 plane that crashed along time ago near Kano. The machine was flown on six occasions rising to an altitude of seven feet. One of the demonstration flights was made in KT.
This budding engineer hopes that the federal government would show interest in his chopper. So far no one has said anything to him government or private organisation.
Read more here

Hawan Bariki fell on Friday, a short day, and was shifted to Saturday. That day the procession of horses and men started from the Governors house in GRA to Kangiwa square. Unfortunately the Emir could not mount and the crowds lining the streets were contented with the district heads. It was colorful and full of pageantry.
President 'YarAdua breezed into town same day. The presidential jet made its maiden touch down on the brand new tarmac of KT Airport. His first port of call was, oddly enough, the permanent site of KSU. I found that odd but on second thoughts it might be a good idea after all. We all know that work has stopped on the site along time ago and Yardy had promised relocating the university from its temporary site inside HUK Polytechnic to its permanent site by January 2008. This can not happen if the contractors continue abandoning the site. His visit could just provide the tonic the contractors need in order to resume.

Governor Shema has abolished the payment of school fees by secondary school students in the state. He said this in his Sallah message. This is some good news but perhaps it should be followed by an order to run shift to all schools in the state(both primary and secondary). This is so as to de-congest the classes. Presently all these 4-story classes built by Yardy are full with between 60 to 70 students. Such an atmosphere does not augur well for learning and running shift could be the only way out.


Above shows King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia and Laura Bush. The latter was on a tour to the Middle East countries to create breast cancer awareness. For the King to extend his hand and shake this woman in front of cameras is a feat his predecessors would never have done. I have high hopes for this man- the custodian of the two holy mosques. His country is going through a tough time, what with Osama bin Ladin people popping up every now and then, USA pressure to democratize and the local activist and bloggers on his neck. And this is not to mention the clerics - the disciples of Bin Baz and his counterparts in the Saud family who are itching to have a shot at the throne.
I want to believe that very soon the King would allow Saudi women to start driving cars in the Kingdom. I believe the King might be trying to send a message to his subjects and indeed the whole world with this picture. On the democratization front the King has done marvelous things on the Shura Council, succession law and judicial reform. He also has a brand new hi-tech university soon to be built- King Abdallah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
By doing all these the King has shown his commitment to reform the Kingdom for the better. I wish him good luck.



Ramadan came to an end and Sallah was celebrated along time ago (on thursday 11th October) . Here is a belated Fitr Mubarak to all my Muslim readers!
News from the United states indicated that this year's Ramadan has been very eventful. First the United States Congress passed a resolution recognising Ramadan as a holy season for Muslims. Secondly the Empire State Building in New York was for the first time lit up in green to honour the Eid holiday. The illumination continued till the end of the weekend. I consider these two things to be remarkable. (Thanks M.)
KT was agog with the activities and Kofar Soro was as usual adorned to match the mood. The procession of horses, artistes and costumed groups was the best ever.
Above picture shows Kofar Soro by Kangiwa square where the Sallah parade converged.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Its 6.17 pm now which means breaking the fast is close by. As I type these words my mouth is dry and my stomach is cringing. The day has been hot like yesterday with room temperatures hovering near 40 degrees Celsius. A chemical message has been sent repeatedly to my brain urging me to do something. Pictures of delicious foods have flashed in my mind and smells of rich foods have been recorded by my nose. All these have made me to salivate in torrents but I still refused to budge to any temptation. I will wait till I hear the Muazzin's call to prayer. Like I did yesterday and the day before .. since the beginning of the Ramadan. God bless all those fasting. Amen

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Friday, October 05, 2007

Harvest season is just round the corner and KT may witness yet another locust invasion. The advance party of these insects have already arrived. And they are everywhere, brownish all and they fly energetically in short courses. Here is praying they will not devour our crops that are still sitting in the farms.


The number one best seller item in KT today is ....wait for block. Yes plain, old ice block that is made by pouring water in to a plastic bag and allowing it to stay long in the freezer. Ice block hawkers have taken over the retail trade and they display their wares at spots along the road stretching from steel rolling mill roundabout up to the old market. In short, IBB Way is now the place to patrol if you want to quench your thirst with cool water this Ramadan. Temperatures rise to 38 degrees Celsius and naturally, for someone fasting, cold water could be the first thing into the mouth. No wonder the commotion by eager ice block buyers have caused traffic jams on various locations along the street.(thanks J.)

picture shows the first customers to spot an ice block seller. Those near by start the crowd followed by those on motor cycles and lastly those in cars join. The commotion caused in this instance did not block the road as the cars were parked neatly on both sides of the road. This scene was captured on Lawrence Onoja road by IBB way as the seller bent down to collect the ice blocks from her sack . The Water Board pump station is in the background.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I combed the whole of KT city limits looking for places or events that a native or visitor can really find interesting this Ramadan. For example places one can go to have sumptuous meals to break the fast with ie iftar. Or places to go and pass the night playing games or watching some event.

I am sorry to say that there are no special meals in all the restaurants I visited for the Ramadan. They claimed that people do not eat out during Ramadan and this could be true judging by the answers I got from the few people I polled on the issue. A new bride of less than one month found the suggestion of eating out ridiculous by saying "impossicant". She said she preferred cooking at home and claimed that her husband also wanted it that way.

Again there are no places one could go to watch plays or drama, or hang out in a floodlit park. If you want to watch the Ramadan opera I mentioned below you have to squeeze yourself in the crowd and watch it standing.
So what leisure time do we have in this month? None but note that one is fully engaged with live Tafsir in the mosques and in the air waves - radio and television. There is only satellite television to break the monotony for me. Theres MBC channels, Aljazeera, Saudi channels, CCTV, fashion tv and a host of others to while away time.



I want you to consider this scenario first: they have given you 51 million naira and after fifteen years you report that the money has ballooned to 760 million naira. This is really good news and perhaps you deserve some mention in the Guinness book of world records.
Well that is exactly what one Suleman Dauda Karohi (SDK) claims to have achieved for the KT Foundation. This foundation was established after money was collected in the state back in 1991. The foundation has the benefit of having General Buhari (yes, same Buhari of ANPP) as its chairman. This could mean among other things that prudence, transparency and accountability are the watch words.
Well in a press conference recently, SDK announced to the world his feat and even gave a breakdown of sorts. Initially I wanted to write a congratulatory message to the foundation and to SDK but questions kept popping up in my head that made me to change my mind.
First what was the main objective of setting up the foundation back in 1991? Was it to make money through investments in share certificates? And why shares only since there are other avenues that could give a higher yield?
I do not believe that building wells in rural areas and donating money to Islamiyya schools is such a worthy objective that required KT people to launch the foundation fifteen years ago. If I recall correctly educational development for the state was part of the objective. So SDK ought to have told us what they did in that sector. What schools did they build? What textbooks, scholarships etc.
The long and short of it is that this foundation is swimming in money with no one to supervise them. General Buhari has many things in his hands and may have even attempted to resign the chairmanship. He hardly attend to the affairs of the foundation. As Nigerians we know how such a situation can easily lead to misappropriation of funds at a large scale.
I am calling on the state government to look into the affairs of this body and streamline its conduct in accordance with the original objectives.

Being the first lady in a state could be very interesting - perks apart. Among other things you have the chance to sit on cozy seats with the governor during public functions or even represent him on occasions. But in Adamawa state, playing the part has become a game of wits. The governor there happen to have four wives and it has now become a race to the podium for the quartet.
Soon after the governor was sworn-in, the problem surfaced as each wife sought to occupy the role to the exclusion of the others. And naturally some less-than-first-lady-like scenes must have been created to the chagrin of the governor and on lookers.
Now how do you solve this kind of problem amicably? Who would accompany the governor and act as the first lady today or this week?
The governor acted swiftly and I am not surprized since he was once a general in the Navy. In the true fashion of the military he assigned the wives different portfolios or areas where each can serve as a first lady to the exclusion of the others.
So Adamawa now has a first lady for political and moblisation affairs, a different first lady for home affairs, another first lady for health and yet another first lady for Abuja affairs. Four different first ladies but all wives of m'lord, the governor.
Problem solved amicably. Unless you have another bright idea, I am giving the governor an "A" rating for coming up with this solution.



Twelve days into Ramadan and its time for drums and drama sketches and short plays all over town. Small boys however get into the act on the tenth day day by acquiring their small drums and beating them silly soon after Asham prayers. These are aged from five to sixteen and they parade the streets stopping at shops, entering into houses with the belief that they are entertaining the audience. Handing them a few coins usually save one from the noise and they move on. For virtually all of them its the first time they handle a musical instrument. And for many of them it would be the last. However the most interesting are the drama sketches that are performed outside or inside houses.These boys pick many themes and use all sorts of make up to assume different roles. Some could dress up as girls or as old men playing out specific roles that rhyme with the chorus and drums behind.
By far the most serious and elaborate is that performed by grown up men and called Karo Ba Shawara. It is a full blown opera that depicts the typical life of the people and in the process teaches a lot of things to the young. Characters sing their lines and comprise of the lead actor and his back ups who respond in a chorus. They use huge gourds laced with beads mainly as the musical instrument. The opera uses themes like the rainy season where the farming activities therein are portrayed. From clearing the farm to the first rains when land is cleared up to harvest time. Marriage, divorce and runway brides are also thrown into the whole drama so as to vary the performance.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

BREAKING NEWS. It was revealed that KT has eleven billion naira in its coffers. The governor made the revelation in a newspaper report. Well this is some good news seeing that not many governors trust revealing such info to the public. For one it could make mouths to water in torrents and before you know it, important people could start putting pressure for their share. I therefore doff my hat for Shema for making the announcement.
But the revelation begs the question as to what to spend the money on? Eleven billion is a whole lot of big money and it may not be off the mark if someone asks for a referendum in the state to determine what to do with it. I would support such a move even though I know it would never come to fruition.
What we the citizens of the state are left with is not more than mere discussion among ourselves on how best to spend the money. I list below my contribution to this discussion after a careful analysis of the problems facing the state:
1. education sector should have 30 percent of the money allocated to it.
2. health sector should have 20 percent allocated to it.
3. industrial sector should have 20percent allocated to it.
4. another 20 percent should be shared among the other sectors.
5. The remaining 10 percent should be set aside for emergency.
Perhaps someone should start a YouTube chat where we tell the governor how best to spend the money.




I have been reminded of other practices that have become traditions during the month of Ramadan. Flying east to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj or Umra has now become fully entrenched as a Ramadan past time. All manner of people jostle for the journey and by far the biggest sponsor for the trips are state governments. Very few pay for the journey from their pockets.
Here is how the racket operates - in the early days of Ramadan you make it a point to get your name slotted in the list. The governor decides who goes and so your campaign should be directed at him. How you do it is left for you, but no one can guarantee you the flight except the governor.
Who jostle for government sponsorship? Well, traditional rulers are top on the list. Followed closely by the local clerics or religious leaders, top government officials (commissioners, special advisers etc), sundry politicians and the governor's relations. All in all the total number could be anywhere between 200 and 500 people. Now if you multiply this number with the token sum of 500,000 naira then you begin to see why this is important to talk about.
Is this sponsorship in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? I can not answer this question since I am neither a lawyer nor a constitutional expert. But there is a sure way we can find out.
Governor Shema of KT is a lawyer and has in various forums asserted that his actions as a governor will be guided by the rule of law. So all we need to do is watch out whether he sponsors these people to the Umra or not. If he does then it is constitutional and the reverse holds if he refuses to approve any contingent. Fair enough eh? (Thanks Maimuna)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

I have always wondered what goodies people use to break their fast with during Ramadan. I want to believe that many like me take the trouble of making sure nice and delicious things are laid on the table. This is considering the huge amounts spent by all in preparation for the month. But does that translate into a deliberate plan to gorge ourselves with the best food?
I conducted a short survey of the food items that my friends and I usually have for breaking the fast. Here is the list of items below:
1. Fruits - mostly dates, fruit salad for few
2. Pap and Kosai - this is a standard menu in every home
3. Roasted meat (chicken or beef or mutton or fish) - the average family have this on alternate days
4. Peppersoup of either of the above meats - on alternate days mostly
5. Potatoes and eggs and plantain - the average family could two of these daily
6. Fura - standard menu for some during sahur
7. Milk and beverage -standard for breaking or sahur time for the average families.
Now the question here is whether the above represent a real delicacy in the true sense of the word. If people make sure they eat the above during Ramadan then what do they eat in months other than Ramadan? A much less richer diet?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fasting is not exactly my favourite form of worship. But I cherish and always look forward to Ramadan period. Indeed we all eagerly look forward to the Ramadan season. But personally I think this has more to do with the goodies we eat to break the fast than perhaps any religious penchant. Look at the statistics I gathered yesterday: the average family makes it a point to have roasted meat or chicken, potatoes and lots of fresh fruits on the table to break the fast daily. Of course there are those who can not afford a descent meal in the period, I hasten to add. But records from markets indicate that huge sums of money are spent to accommodate the demands of Ramadan fast. More than half of that amount goes to food items.

Incidentally my favourite form of worship is the Hajj. I love to go to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and have been there four of five times. Nigerians love to go on Hajj and perhaps this too is for the little taste of life in the first world and the shopping spree. I like to think that Saudi Arabia is at par with western countries in some respects. Some respects because there are areas they can improve like in sanitation and garbage collection.
But this year the fare is so outrageous I am boycotting the journey completely. Half a million naira is no joke.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007



Today is the first day of Ramadan fast. The announcement for the commencement was made yesterday by the Sultan of Sokoto. Many will go by the announcement but there will be others who will not.
I did my Ramadan shopping about a month ago and am better off for that because prices have gone up since. I visited KT central market yesterday and it was a beehive of activity. Shoppers were in droves buying all manner of items. Top on the list included sugar, beverages, flour, apparels, and shoes. Apart from buying what to consume tradition dictates that one buys clothes for the coming Sallah Eid. And of course one buys things for gifts to relations and in-laws. Another thing that has almost become a tradition is the Ramadan text messages to friends on their mobile phones. I have received four of such messages so far and more are coming. And they can be quite interesting to read.
I wish us all a happy Ramadan season.

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